Author: Justine Rickard M.A.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are” – Brené Brown.
Happy National Coming Out Day! Since 1987, National Coming Out Day has been a day to recognize and celebrate the diversity of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Part of the emphasis of this day is on the importance of coming out as a way to challenge and eliminate hate and queer-phobia, which are known to thrive in silence. Representation matters, and the more it is celebrated and valued the more we can eliminate hate and discrimination and make the world a safer place for all.
Shame, like hate, thrives in silence and secrecy, and is often a driving force of eating disorders. Feeling like we have to consciously or unconsciously silence or abandon parts of ourselves as a result of queer-phobia can leave us feeling alone, rejected, and disconnected from our true self.
It is important to highlight the fact that coming out remains a privilege that is not afforded to all. We still have a way to go in making our communities safe and inclusive enough for all queer folk to be able to make the decision to publicly live their truest selves. Coming out is also an individual decision, and not something that is owed to the world. However, if you are in eating disorder recovery and struggling with gender or sexuality, beginning the personal work of coming out to yourself may be an important step in your recovery and toward healing internalized shame and the acceptance of all aspects of yourself.
Eating disorders affect 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in far greater numbers than non-queer individuals. On this day, we celebrate all of the queer folk who are working to reclaim their authentic self through ED recovery and/or coming out, and those who are not yet ready or able to. We see you. We value you. We are here for you.